Saxenda (liraglutide)

Medically Reviewed By Melissa Badowski, PharmD, MPH, FCCP

This drug has a boxed warning, the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A boxed warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

The active drug in Saxenda, liraglutide, has been found to cause thyroid tumors in animals. It’s not known if Saxenda causes thyroid tumors or thyroid cancer in humans.

Due to the possible risk of thyroid cancer, you shouldn’t take Saxenda if you’ve ever had medullary thyroid cancer (MTC). You also shouldn’t take the drug if one of your parents or siblings has had MTC. Additionally, you shouldn’t take Saxenda if you have a rare inherited condition called multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2).

To learn more, see the “ Saxenda: Side effects” section below.

About Saxenda injection

Saxenda is a brand-name prescription drug. It’s used to aid weight loss and long-term weight management in certain people. Doctors prescribe it in combination with a reduced-calorie diet and increased exercise.

Specifically, Saxenda is approved for use in:

This drug has certain limitations of use. For details about these limitations and how the drug is used for weight loss and long-term weight management, see the “Saxenda: Uses” section below.

* BMI measures your weight in relation to your height. Use this article to help calculate your BMI.
Sex and gender exist on spectrums. In this article, use of the terms “male” and “female” refers to sex assigned at birth.

Key points

The following table provides key facts about Saxenda.

Active drug liraglutide
Drug class glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonist
Form solution inside a prefilled pen that’s given by subcutaneous injection

Finding a healthcare professional

If you’re interested in taking this drug, search here to find a doctor who might prescribe it.

Saxenda: Generic

Saxenda contains the active drug liraglutide. It only comes as a brand-name medication. And it isn’t currently available as a generic drug.

A generic is an identical copy of the active drug found in a brand-name medication. Generics typically cost less than brand-name drugs.

Saxenda: Uses

Prescription drugs, such as Saxenda, are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat certain conditions.

Using Saxenda for weight loss and weight management

Saxenda is an FDA-approved weight loss injection medication. It reduces your appetite and helps you consume fewer calories. Saxenda is used in combination with a reduced-calorie diet and increased exercise.

Doctors prescribe Saxenda to help with weight loss and long-term weight management in certain people. Maintaining a moderate body weight may lower the risk of certain health problems. Examples may include type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease.

Saxenda is prescribed for:

* BMI measures your weight in relation to your height. Use this article to help calculate your BMI.
Sex and gender exist on spectrums. In this article, use of the terms “male” and “female” refers to sex assigned at birth.

Limitations of use

Saxenda has certain limitations of its use. This means it shouldn’t be used in the following situations:

* See the “Saxenda: Interactions” section below for examples.
† Saxenda is part of the drug class called GLP-1 agonists. To learn more, see the “Saxenda: How it works” section below.

Using Saxenda with other therapies

Saxenda is used in combination with a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity. Your doctor will work with you to develop an exercise and diet plan that meets your needs. A dietitian or nutritionist can also help you with meal plans.

Using Saxenda in children

Doctors can prescribe Saxenda for certain children ages 12 years and older whose body weight increases their risk of health problems. See “Using Saxenda for weight loss and weight management” above for details.

Finding a healthcare professional for Saxenda

If you’re interested in treatment with Saxenda, you can find a doctor who may prescribe it by searching here. To prepare for your appointment, you may find it helpful to visit the appointment guide for weight management.

Saxenda: Questions you may have

Here are some common questions about Saxenda and brief answers to them. If you’d like to know more about these topics, ask your doctor.

Where can I find reviews from people who’ve taken Saxenda?

Stories from people who’ve used Saxenda are available on the drug manufacturer’s website. There are also reviews widely available on the internet. However, keep in mind that not everyone who uses Saxenda will have the same experience. The weight loss results and side effects you may have will depend on your personal situation.

To learn more about side effects, see the “Saxenda: Side effects” section below. Also, be sure to talk with your doctor about what you can expect with Saxenda treatment.

What before and after results can I expect with Saxenda?

Everyone’s experience with Saxenda is likely to be different, so you should talk with your doctor about what you can expect.

For adults, your doctor will check your weight loss progress 4 months after you start Saxenda. At this point, you should have lost at least 4% of your body weight.

For children, their doctor will check their weight loss progress 3 months after they start Saxenda. At this point, the child should have a body mass index (BMI)* that’s at least 1% lower than when they started Saxenda.

To read about how much weight people lost with Saxenda in clinical studies, see Saxenda’s prescribing information.

* BMI measures your weight in relation to your height. Use this article to help calculate your BMI.

What’s to know about Saxenda vs. Victoza and Ozempic?

Saxenda, Victoza, and Ozempic all belong to a class of drugs called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists. In fact, Saxenda and Victoza contain the same active drug, liraglutide. Ozempic contains the active drug semaglutide.

While they’re very similar, these drugs have different uses. Saxenda is a weight loss drug. Victoza and Ozempic are used to help improve blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

To learn more about how Saxenda compares with Victoza, see this article. If you’d like to know more about these drugs, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

How does Saxenda compare with alternatives such as Contrave, Qsymia, and phentermine?

Contrave, Qsymia, and phentermine are all weight loss drugs that are alternatives to Saxenda. However, unlike Saxenda, Contrave and Qsymia aren’t suitable for people younger than 18 years of age. And phentermine isn’t suitable for people younger than 17 years of age.

These drugs are all taken by mouth, unlike Saxenda, which is given by injection. They also each contain different active ingredients. And although they all reduce appetite, they work in different ways than Saxenda.

Contrave contains naltrexone and bupropion. In addition to reducing appetite, it helps decrease food cravings by lessening feelings of pleasure that come with eating.

Phentermine is a stimulant drug that’s related to amphetamine. It reduces appetite, but it’s only suitable for short-term use because it can cause dependence. (With dependence, your body needs the drug in order to function like usual.) Phentermine is also available as the brand-name drugs Adipex-P and Lomaira.

Qsymia contains a lower dose of phentermine in combination with another drug called topiramate. Topiramate also helps reduce appetite.

All these medications have different side effects and may not be safe for certain people. Talk with your doctor about which of these drugs may be right for you.

Does Saxenda come as pills?

No, Saxenda doesn’t come in pill form. It only comes as a solution that’s given by injection. Saxenda wouldn’t work if it was taken by mouth because the medication would be quickly broken down by your digestive system.

For more information about how to take doses of Saxenda, see the “Saxenda: How to use” section below.

Saxenda: Cost

Like other medications, prices for Saxenda may vary. The drug’s price will depend on factors such as:

The drug’s cost per month may vary between people, as will its cost with insurance and cost without insurance.

Cost considerations and possible coupon for Saxenda

Here’s a list of things to consider when looking into the cost of Saxenda.

  • Option for a 90-day supply. For some drugs, it’s possible to get a 90-day supply. If this option is approved by your insurance company, it can help lower the cost of the drug. It can also help you avoid frequent trips to your pharmacy. If you’d like to learn more about this option, ask your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance company.
  • Need for prior authorization. Before insurance coverage for Saxenda is approved, your insurance company may require prior authorization. In this case, your doctor and insurance company will communicate about your prescription for Saxenda. Then, the insurance company will decide if the drug will be covered. To find out if you need prior authorization for Saxenda, contact your insurance company.
  • Possible cost assistance or coupon. Financial assistance to help lower the cost of Saxenda is available. Novo Nordisk, the manufacturer of the drug, doesn’t provide a coupon for this drug. However, they do offer a savings card to help lower its cost. To learn more and see if you’re eligible for support, visit the manufacturer’s website. Also, check out this article to learn about ways to save on prescription drugs.
  • Use of a mail-order pharmacy. Saxenda may be dispensed through mail-order pharmacies. Getting your prescription through a mail-order pharmacy could lower its cost. It can also allow you to get the drug without leaving home. To find out more about this option, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance company.
  • Availability of a generic/biosimilar form.Saxenda isn’t available as a generic. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. Typically, generics cost less than brand-name drugs.

Saxenda: Side effects

As with most drugs, it’s possible to have side effects with Saxenda. These can include some mild side effects but also some serious ones.

To learn more about Saxenda’s side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They may also provide information about managing certain side effects of this drug.

Note: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tracks side effects of drugs it has approved. If you would like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with Saxenda, you can do so through MedWatch.

Mild and serious side effects

Mild and serious side effects of Saxenda are listed in the table below. This table does not include all of Saxenda’s possible side effects.

Mild side effects* Serious side effects
• vomiting • acute pancreatitis (sudden inflammation of your pancreas)
indigestion gallbladder problems, such as gallstones
diarrhea or constipation • increased heart rate
flatulence (gas) hypoglycemia (low blood sugar level)
bloating kidney failure
abdominal pain suicidal thoughts or actions
headache • risk of thyroid cancer†‡
dizziness allergic reaction
fatigue  
gastroenteritis (infection in your stomach and intestine)  
• injection side effects†  
nausea  

* This is not a complete list of Saxenda’s mild side effects. To learn about other mild side effects of this drug, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Or you can view the drug’s prescribing information.
† For more information about this side effect, see “Saxenda’s side effects explained” below.
Saxenda has a boxed warning regarding the risk of thyroid cancer. A boxed warning is the strongest warning required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Boxed warnings alert doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Most times, mild side effects of a drug go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if any side effects become severe or don’t go away.

Serious side effects from Saxenda aren’t common, but they are possible. If you have serious side effects, call your doctor right away. However, if you’re having a medical emergency or your symptoms feel life threatening, call 911 or a local emergency number.

Suicide prevention

If you know someone at immediate risk of self-harm, suicide, or hurting another person:

  • Ask the tough question: “Are you considering suicide?”
  • Listen to the person without judgment.
  • Call 911 or the local emergency number, or text TALK to 741741 to communicate with a trained crisis counselor.
  • Stay with the person until professional help arrives.
  • Try to remove any weapons, medications, or other potentially harmful objects.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, a prevention hotline can help. The National Suicide

Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours per day at 800-273-8255. During a crisis, people who are hard of hearing can use their preferred relay service or dial 711 then 800-273-8255.

Click here for more links and local resources.

Saxenda’s side effects in children

Saxenda can be prescribed for certain children ages 12 years and older. Side effects of the drug in children are similar to those in adults. See the “Mild and serious side effects” section above.

In clinical studies, gastroenteritis occurred more often in children taking Saxenda than in adults taking the drug. Gastroenteritis is inflammation in the stomach and intestines due to an infection, such as food poisoning or stomach flu. Children may also have a fever with Saxenda.

To learn more about Saxenda’s side effects in children, talk with your child’s doctor.

Saxenda’s side effects explained

Below, you can find detailed information about some of Saxenda’s side effects. To learn more about other side effects of this medication, talk with your doctor. 

Risk of thyroid cancer

Saxenda has a boxed warning for a risk of thyroid cancer. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

The active drug in Saxenda, liraglutide, has been found to cause thyroid tumors in animals. However, it’s not known if Saxenda causes thyroid tumors or thyroid cancer in humans. 

Symptoms of thyroid cancer may include:

  • a lump in your neck
  • hoarse voice that doesn’t get better
  • trouble swallowing
  • breathlessness or trouble breathing

What to do

Before starting Saxenda, talk with your doctor about your medical history. Due to the possible risk of thyroid cancer, doctors typically won’t prescribe Saxenda if:

  • you or one of your parents or siblings has ever had medullary thyroid cancer
  • you have a rare inherited condition called multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2), which increases your risk for thyroid cancer

If you develop symptoms of thyroid cancer while taking Saxenda, see your doctor right away. If you have thyroid cancer, your doctor will have you stop taking Saxenda.

Nausea

In clinical studies, nausea was the most common side effect reported with Saxenda in both adults and children. To learn more about how often this side effect occurred in clinical studies, see the drug’s prescribing information.

Nausea with Saxenda is usually mild, but some people may also have vomiting. These side effects happen because the drug slows down the movement of food through your stomach. So, it can cause bloating and an upset stomach. Nausea typically gets better as your body gets used to the medication.

It’s important to note that some of Saxenda’s serious side effects may cause nausea and vomiting. For example, nausea and vomiting can be a symptom of:

What to do

Tips for easing nausea with Saxenda are included in the table below.

Things to avoid Things to try
• eating large meals • eating smaller amounts more frequently
• eating greasy, sugary, or spicy foods • eating plain foods, such as rice
• lying down after eating • drinking peppermint or ginger tea
• wearing tight-fitting clothing • sipping water frequently

Be sure to drink plenty of fluids if you have nausea or vomiting with Saxenda. Otherwise, you may become dehydrated. And this could raise your risk of kidney problems with Saxenda.

If you have nausea that’s severe, stops you from eating or drinking, or doesn’t improve with time, tell your doctor. They may want to check to be sure your nausea isn’t caused by a more serious side effect.

Injection side effects

Injection side effects can occur around the place where Saxenda is injected. In clinical studies, injection side effects were common in adults who took Saxenda. They were less common in children who took the drug. To learn more about how often this side effect occurred in clinical studies, see the drug’s prescribing information.

Injection side effects are usually mild and get better after a few days. Symptoms you may have around your injection site include:

Keep in mind that if you have a rash after injecting Saxenda, it could be a symptom of an allergic reaction to the drug. See “Allergic reaction” below to read more about this.

What to do

To help prevent injection side effects, use a different injection site each time you inject Saxenda. To do this, inject Saxenda at least one finger width away from where you last injected the drug. Or use a different part of your body for each injection.

You can inject Saxenda in your thigh, belly, or upper arm. After injecting Saxenda, don’t rub the injection site. For more information about taking doses of Saxenda, see the “Saxenda: How to use” section below.

If you have injection side effects, don’t inject Saxenda into the affected area until the reaction gets better. If the side effects are bothersome, it may help to apply a cold pack to the injection site. If your injection side effects are severe or don’t get better within a few days, talk with your doctor.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, some people can have an allergic reaction after taking Saxenda. A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible.

Possible symptoms of mild and serious allergic reactions are listed in the table below.

Mild allergic reaction symptoms Serious allergic reaction symptoms
flushing • swelling under your skin, possibly in your hands, feet, lips, or eyelids
rash • swelling in your throat or mouth
• itching trouble breathing

If you have an allergic reaction to Saxenda, call your doctor right away. This is important to do because the reaction could become severe.

However, if you’re having a medical emergency or your symptoms feel life threatening, call 911 or a local emergency number.

Saxenda: Dosage

Below, you’ll find dosages that are commonly recommended for Saxenda. However, you should take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. They’ll recommend the dosage that’s best for your needs.

Most often, doctors start by prescribing a low dosage of Saxenda. Then, they’ll slowly increase the dosage over the next few weeks. This allows your body to get used to the medication and reduces your risk of having digestive side effects such as nausea.

Saxenda’s forms and strengths

Saxenda is available as follows.

  • Form: liquid solution inside a prefilled injection pen that’s given by subcutaneous injection
  • Strength: 18 milligrams (mg) per 3 milliliters (mL)

Your doctor will teach you how to give yourself an injection of Saxenda using the injection pen.

Saxenda’s recommended dosages

Recommended starting dosages for Saxenda in adults and children ages 12 years and older are described below.

Week Dose* Frequency
week 1 0.6 mg once per day
week 2 1.2 mg once per day
week 3 1.8 mg once per day
week 4 2.4 mg once per day
week 5 and beyond 3 mg once per day

* Saxenda pens can be set to inject the exact amount of each of these doses. To learn more about how to inject Saxenda, see the “Saxenda: How to use” section below.

If you have bothersome side effects after your dose increases, talk with your doctor. They may recommend continuing at a certain dose for an extra week until your side effects improve. Then, you could move on to the next increased dose. For children, it may take up to 8 weeks to reach a dosage of 3 mg once per day.

Adult maintenance dosage

The usual recommended maintenance dosage for adults is 3 mg once per day. If you have side effects and can’t tolerate this dose, your doctor will likely recommend stopping Saxenda.

Child maintenance dosage

The usual recommended maintenance dosage for children ages 12 years and older is 3 mg once per day. Children who have bothersome side effects at this dosage may take a lower daily dose of 2.4 mg. However, if they have side effects and can’t tolerate this dosage, their doctor will likely recommend stopping Saxenda.

Dosage considerations

Below are some things to consider about Saxenda’s dosage.

  • Missing a dose. If you miss a dose of Saxenda, skip the missed dose and take your next dose as scheduled. Do not take extra doses to make up for missed doses. If you miss three or more doses in a row, talk with your doctor. They’ll likely have you restart Saxenda at 0.6 mg per day and gradually increase your dose each week, similar to when you started treatment. View these medication reminder options to help avoid missing doses. You could also set an alarm, use a timer, or download a reminder app on your phone.
  • Length of treatment. Doctors typically prescribe Saxenda as a long-term treatment. You’ll likely take it long term if you and your doctor feel it’s safe and effective for your condition.

Saxenda: Consuming alcohol during treatment

Saxenda doesn’t interact with alcohol. However, consuming alcohol during treatment could worsen some of Saxenda’s side effects. Examples of these side effects include:

Consuming alcohol can also make you dehydrated, which could raise your risk of kidney problems with Saxenda.

If you drink alcohol, ask your doctor how much is safe to consume during Saxenda treatment.

Saxenda: How to use

Your doctor will recommend how you should use Saxenda. It’s important that you take doses of the drug exactly as your doctor instructs.

Saxenda comes as a liquid solution in a prefilled injection pen. It’s given by subcutaneous injection. Your doctor will teach you how to give yourself an injection of Saxenda using the injection pen.

The Saxenda website also has a step-by-step video and detailed instructions for using the pen.

Saxenda injection sites

These are the sites you can inject Saxenda into:

  • thigh
  • upper arm
  • belly

Questions about using Saxenda

Here’s a list of common questions related to taking doses of Saxenda.

  • When should I take doses of Saxenda? You should take doses of Saxenda once per day. View these medication reminder options to help avoid missing doses. You could also set an alarm, use a timer, or download a reminder app on your phone.
  • Do I need to take doses of Saxenda with food? No, you can take Saxenda doses either with or without food.
  • Is there a best time of day to take Saxenda? No, you can take doses of Saxenda at any time of day. However, try to stick to the same time each day.

Saxenda: Using while pregnant

You should not use Saxenda during pregnancy. The drug is prescribed to help with weight loss and long-term weight management. Losing weight during pregnancy can be harmful to a developing fetus.

If you become pregnant during your Saxenda treatment, stop taking it and tell your doctor.

Saxenda and birth control needs

Talk with your doctor about your birth control needs with Saxenda if you’re sexually active and you or your partner can become pregnant. Your doctor can recommend if you should use birth control with this medication.

Saxenda: Using while breastfeeding

It’s not known if Saxenda passes into breast milk or if it’s safe to use while breastfeeding. If you’re breastfeeding or planning to, talk with your doctor. They can discuss with you the possible risks and benefits of using Saxenda. And they can recommend healthy ways to feed your child.

Saxenda: Interactions

Saxenda may interact with other medications and certain supplements.

Different interactions can cause different effects. Some interactions can interfere with a drug’s effectiveness. Others can increase a drug’s side effects or cause them to be severe.

If any of the interactions listed below might pertain to you, talk with your doctor. They can tell you what you need to do to avoid the interaction.

  • Saxenda and other glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists. The manufacturer of Saxenda advises that other GLP-1 agonists* should not be taken with Saxenda. Examples include:
  • Saxenda and other weight loss medications. The manufacturer of Saxenda advises that these other weight loss drugs should not be taken with Saxenda. Examples include:
    • orlistat (Alli, Xenical)
    • phentermine (Adipex-P, Lomaira)
    • phentermine/topiramate (Qsymia)
    • naltrexone/bupropion (Contrave)
  • Saxenda and certain diabetes medications. You may have an increased risk for hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) if you take Saxenda with certain diabetes drugs. Examples include:
    • insulin
    • sulfonylurea drugs for diabetes, such as glipizide (Glucotrol, Glucotrol XL)
  • Saxenda and weight loss herbs or supplements. The manufacturer of Saxenda advises that these products should not be taken with Saxenda. Examples include:

* Saxenda belongs to the drug class called GLP-1 agonists. To learn more, see the “Saxenda: How it works” section below.

Saxenda: How it works

Doctors prescribe Saxenda to help with weight loss and long-term weight management in certain people. The drug is used with a reduced-calorie diet and increased exercise.

Saxenda is a type of drug called a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonist. GLP-1 is a hormone that helps regulate your appetite and blood sugar levels.

Saxenda acts on the same sites in the brain as GLP-1. It works by producing the same effects as this hormone. These effects are:

  • slowed movement of food from your stomach to your intestine, making you feel fuller after eating
  • reduced appetite

By producing these effects, Saxenda helps you consume fewer calories. Over time, this aids you in losing weight and maintaining your weight loss.

How long does Saxenda take to start working?

Saxenda starts working soon after your first dose, but it may take a couple of weeks before you start to lose weight.

You’ll have an appointment with your doctor after you’ve started taking Saxenda. This appointment will occur at 4 months for adults and at 3 months for children. During the appointment, your doctor can check to see if the drug is working. If you haven’t lost a certain amount of weight by this time, it’s likely that Saxenda isn’t working for you. In this case, your doctor will likely recommend stopping Saxenda.

Saxenda: Precautions

This drug comes with several precautions.

FDA warning: Risk of thyroid cancer

This drug has a boxed warning, the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A boxed warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

The active drug in Saxenda, liraglutide, has been found to cause thyroid tumors in animals. It’s not known if Saxenda causes thyroid tumors or thyroid cancer in humans. 

Due to the possible risk of thyroid cancer, you shouldn’t take Saxenda if you’ve ever had medullary thyroid cancer (MTC). You also shouldn’t take the drug if one of your parents or siblings has had MTC. Additionally, you shouldn’t take Saxenda if you have a rare inherited condition called multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2).

To learn more, see “Saxenda side effects explained” in the “Saxenda: Side effects” section above.

Other precautions

Tell your doctor about your health history before starting treatment with Saxenda. Your doctor may not recommend this medication if you have certain factors affecting your health or specific medical conditions.

These factors and conditions include those listed below.

  • Gastroparesis. Saxenda hasn’t been studied in people with gastroparesis (slow stomach emptying). Saxenda slows stomach emptying, so it could worsen this condition. If you have gastroparesis, talk with your doctor about whether Saxenda is safe for you.
  • Liver problems. Of people involved in Saxenda’s clinical studies, only a few had liver problems. There’s limited information available about the use of Saxenda by people with liver problems. Rarely, Saxenda increased the level of liver enzymes. However, it wasn’t clear if this was due to Saxenda or other factors, such as gallstones. If you have a liver problem, talk with your doctor about whether Saxenda is safe for you.
  • Kidney problems. Saxenda can both cause and worsen kidney failure. So, if you already have kidney problems, it could make them worse. Talk with your doctor about whether Saxenda is safe for you.
  • Pancreatitis. Saxenda can cause acute pancreatitis (sudden inflammation of your pancreas). If you’ve ever had pancreatitis, talk with your doctor about whether Saxenda is right for you.
  • Type 2 diabetes. Saxenda can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar level). Adults with type 2 diabetes who take insulin or a sulfonylurea drug, such as glipizide (Glucotrol, Glucotrol XL), have a raised risk for this side effect. If you take one of these drugs, your doctor will likely check your blood sugar before you start Saxenda and throughout treatment. If needed, they may adjust the dosage of your diabetes medication. Additionally, Saxenda shouldn’t be used in children with type 2 diabetes.
  • Depression or suicidal thoughts. In clinical studies, suicidal thoughts or actions were rarely reported in people using Saxenda. However, if you’ve ever had suicidal thoughts, your doctor will likely not prescribe Saxenda. If you’ve ever had depression or another mental health condition, talk with your doctor about whether Saxenda is right for you.
  • Allergic reaction. Your doctor will likely not prescribe Saxenda if you’ve had an allergic reaction to it or any of its ingredients. To find out about other treatment options, talk with your doctor.
  • Pregnancy. Saxenda isn’t safe to take during pregnancy. If you’d like to learn more information about taking Saxenda while pregnant, view the “Saxenda: Using while pregnant” section above.
  • Breastfeeding. It’s not known if Saxenda passes into breast milk. If you’d like to learn more information about taking Saxenda while breastfeeding, view the “Saxenda: Using while breastfeeding” section above.

To learn more about effects of Saxenda that could be harmful, see the “Saxenda: Side effects” section above.

Saxenda: Overdose

Serious effects can occur if you use more than the recommended dosage of Saxenda. Do not use more Saxenda than your doctor recommends.  

Symptoms of overdose

Symptoms that an overdose could cause include:

What to do in case of overdose

Call your doctor if you think you’ve taken too much of this drug. Also, you can call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or use their online tool. However, if your symptoms are severe, call 911 or your local emergency number. Or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

Saxenda: Expiration, storage, and disposal

Here’s some information about Saxenda’s expiration date, as well as how to store and dispose of the drug.

  • Expiration. Your pharmacist will add an expiration date to the label on Saxenda’s packaging. This date is usually 1 year from the date the medication was dispensed to you. Expiration dates help ensure that a medication is effective during a period of time. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises that you avoid using expired drugs. If you have an unused medication and it’s past the drug’s expiration date, talk with your pharmacist. They can let you know whether you might still be able to use the medication.
  • Storage. Many factors determine how long a medication remains good to use. These factors include how and where you store the drug. New, unused Saxenda injection pens should be stored in a refrigerator at a temperature of 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C). Once in use, Saxenda pens can be stored in the fridge, or you can keep them out of the fridge at a room temperature of 59°F to 86°F (15°C to 30°C). Keep the pens away from heat and light. Always remove the needle and replace the cap on the pens after taking a dose.
  • Disposal. Dispose of any used needles right after using them. Dispose of Saxenda pen 30 days after you start using it, even if it still contains some medication. You can safely dispose of these items in an FDA-approved sharps container. Doing so helps prevent others, including children and pets, from accidentally taking the drug. It also helps them avoid harm from needles. If you’d like to buy a sharps container, you can find options online. Or ask your doctor, pharmacist, or health insurance company where you can purchase one. Your pharmacist can tell you more information about disposing of Saxenda. Also, check out this page for several tips on safe medication disposal.

Saxenda: Questions for your doctor

If you have questions about Saxenda, talk with your doctor. They can help advise you on whether Saxenda could be a good treatment option for you.

Here’s a list of questions you may want to ask your doctor:

Your doctor may also tell you about other treatment options for your condition.

Disclaimer: Healthgrades has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

Medical Reviewer: Melissa Badowski, PharmD, MPH, FCCP
Last Review Date: 2022 Apr 10
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.